by Vihari-Lala Mitra | 1891 | 1,121,132 words | ISBN-10: 8171101519
The English translation of the Yoga-vasistha: a Hindu philosophical and spiritual text written by sage Valmiki from an Advaita-vedanta perspective. The book contains epic narratives similar to puranas and chronologically precedes the Ramayana. The Yoga-vasistha is believed by some Hindus to answer all the questions that arise in the human mind, an...
Argument:—The god of fire, after directing Vipaschit to wander over the world according to his desire, disappeared from his sight.
The god of fire added:—
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Go now O sapient Vipaschit, to your wished for abodes, and with the steadiness of your mind, conduct with propriety every where on earth.
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I was then led by my predestination to roam about in the air; and direct my mind into the investigation of my allotted acts, and the termination of my ignorance.
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I beheld again an innumerable host of heavenly bodies, roving about in the air; holding their positions at different stations of the firmament, and containing inhabitants of different natures and customs.
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Some of these were of one and same form, resembling floating umbrellas in the sky; and attracting the hearts of men, by their shining appearance and slow motion. (The great velocity of heavenly bodies, appear to be slow when they are seen by the naked eyes of men from this distant earth).
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Some of them are of earthy substance, but shining and moving onward like mountains in motion.
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Some were of woody appearance, and others of stony substance;but they are all lightsome bodies, and all moving onward in their uninterrupted course.
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I beheld also some figures like carved statues of stone, standing in the open space of my mind, and talking together all their live-long days.
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In this manner I beheld for a long while, many such figures like images in my dream, and was quite bewildered in my utter ignorance of them.
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I then intended to perform my austere devotion, in order to obtain my liberation; when the god Indra appeared unto me and said: "no Vipaschit, you are doomed to become a stag again, and not entitled to your liberation now."
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You are propelled by your previous predilection to prefer the pleasures of heaven; therefore I must direct you to dwell in my paradise, and wander there amidst my gardens of mandara trees.
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Being thus bid by him, I rejoined and said to him: I am weary, O lord, with the troubles of the world, and want to get my release from them; ordain therefore my immediate emancipation from them.
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The god listened to my prayer and said: emancipation attends on the pure soul, which is purged from all its desires; and this had been already expounded to you by the god of fire (in his narrative of the sage and hunter); ask therefore some other boon, said he, and I begged him to tell me of my next and future state.
Indra replied and said:—
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I find you to be fated to be changed to the state of a deer hereafter, from the fond desire of your heart, to wander about and feed freely in the fields.
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By becoming a deer, you will have to enter the holy assembly (of Dasaratha); where another deer like you, has obtained his liberation before, by listening to the spiritual instructions formerly delivered there by me.
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Therefore be born as a deer in some forest on earth with your pensive soul; and you will then come to recollect your past life from its relation by Vasishtha (in the court of king Dasaratha).
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You will learn there, that all this existence is but the delusion of a dream, and the creation of imagination; and the account of your future life depicted in its true colour.
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After being released from the body of the deer, you shall regain your human form, and perceive the rays of holy light shining in your inward spirit.
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After the god had said so, I had the presentiment of being a deer in this forest, and entirely forgot my human nature, under my firm conviction of having become a beast.
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I have been ever since residing in the recess of these woods, under the impression of my being changed to a stag; and feeding ever since upon the grass and herbs growing on the mountain top.
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Here I saw once a body of troopers coming to a hunting excursion; and being then affrighted at the sight, I betook myself to flight.
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I have thus related to you all the incidents of my life; and the magical scenes of the world, too full of marvelous events.
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It is the production of our ignorance, which pervades over all things, and branches out into innumerable forms in everything that presents itself to our view; and there is nothing whatever to dispel this darkness, except by the light of spiritual knowledge.
Valmiki relates said:—
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Then as Vipaschit had held his silence after speaking in this manner; he was accosted by the well minded Rama with the following words.
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Tell me sir, how a person without any desire of his own, sees the object of another's desire in himself; and could the deer thought of by yourself, come to the sight of others in Indra's Paradise?
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Let me tell you that the earth where upon the huge carcass had fallen, was once before trodden upon by Indra, with the pride of his performance of a hundred sacrifices.
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There strutting along in his haughty strides, he met the anchorite Durvasas sitting still in his meditative mood;and believing him to be a dead body lying on his way, he knocked it down with his feet.
At this the angry anchorite threatened the proud god with saying said:—
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O Indra! as you have dashed me with your feet by thinking me a lifeless corpse, so will a huge carcass shortly fall upon this ground and slash it to pieces and reduce it to dust.
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And as you have spurned me as a dead body, so art thou accursed to be crushed under the falling carcass on earth.
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He transformed into a deer, as he was king of kings before, and remained in his appearance according to his ideas.
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In truth neither is the actual world a reality, nor the imaginary one an unreality; it is in fact the one and same thing, whether we conceive it as the one or other (i.e. either as the real or unreal).
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Listen now, O Rama, to another reason, which appertains to this subject, and clearly settles the point in question. (That God being Almighty and all in all, it makes no difference whatever, whether the world is viewed as his creation or as a pantheon).
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He in whom all things reside, and from whom everything proceeds; who is all in all; and who is every where in all must be the One that you may call all, and beside whom there [is] none at all.
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It is equally possible to him, to bring forth whatever he wills to produce; as also not to produce, whatever he does not wish to bring to existence.
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Whatever is desired in earnest by any body, must eventually come to pass to him in reality (as the desired doership of Vipaschit); and this is as true as the instance of light, being ever accompanied by its shade.
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If it is impossible for the desire and its act, which are opposite in their nature, to meet together in fact; then it would be impossible for the omnifarious God to be all things both in being and not being; therefore the objects of our desire and thought, are equally present with us as the real ones.
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There is a reality (or entity of God) attached to every form of existence, and there is nothing which of itself is either an entity or nullity also.
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O the great magic or illusion, which is overspread every where, and pervades over all nature in every form and at all times; and binds all beings in inextricable delusion.
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The nature of the great God comprises the community of spirits in his spirit, and combines in itself all laws whether permissive or prohibitive acting in concert and eternal harmony.
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It is his infinite power that has displayed the ignorance or Illusion, which spreads over all the three worlds from time with or without its beginning; and it is our delusion only, which depicts all things in their various forms to our view.
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Or how could the creation that was once destroyed by the great deluge, come to resuscitate again; unless it were a réchauffé of the reminiscence of the past one, else the elementary bodies of air, fire and earth, could not possibly be produced from nothing.
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Therefore the world is no other than a manifestation of the divine nature; and this is the verdict of the sastras, and the conviction of mankind from the very beginning of creation.
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Things which admit of no sufficient proof for their material existence, are easily proved to exist, by their being considered under the light of the understanding.
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Things of a subtile nature, which are imperceptible by the senses, are known in their essence by the understanding of the learned; hence the essence of Brahma is pure understanding, of which we are quite ignorant owing to our ignorance of the Intellect.
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The world is obvious to us from its figure, as the air is evident by its vibration; hence no body is born or dies herein, (save that it appears to or disappears from our sight).
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That I am living and the other is dead, are conceptions of our mind; hence death being but the total disappearance of the visible world from our view, it must be as pleasing to us as our sound sleep itself.
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If it be the recognition of the visibles, which is called the life or revivification of man; then there are no such things in the world, as are commonly termed the life and death of beings.
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At a time, the intellect appears a duality, and at other an unity, both are nothing but intellect.
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It is the Intellection of the Divine Intellect, that infuses its intelligence into all minds; hence what is life without the intellect and the faculty of intellection.
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The intellect being free from pain, there is no cause of complaint in any intellectual being; since the word world and all that it means to express, are but manifestations of vacuous intellect.
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It is wrong to say, that the intellect is one thing and the body another; since the unity is the soul of all and pervades all multiformity; and as the waves and whirlpools are seen in the waters, so are all these bodies known to abide in the Supreme being.
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The universal pervasion of divine essence, as that of the subtile air, is the cause of causes and the sole cause of all; hence the world is a subtile substance also, being but a reflection of the Divine Intellect.
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It is wonderful, how this subtile world appears as a solid body to us; it is only our conception of it as such that makes it appear so unto us; but conception is no substance at all, therefore the world has no substantiality in it.
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It is the demon of error that reigns over us in its aerial form, deludes us to take the shadowy world for the substance; while in fact this creation of error is as nil and void, as the vacuous creation of the intellect. (i.e. The sensible world is as void and null as the ideal one).
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Hence this nether world below and the etherial worlds above, are as void as the hyperphysical world of the Divine Intellect; and all these being but reflections of the Divine mind, are exhibited in various ways.
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The Intellect being a subtile entity, there is nothing as a solid substance anywhere; the phenomenals are all unsubstantial rarities, though they appear to as solidified realities.
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The knowledge of the true verity and that of the unreality, are so blended together; that we must remain in mute silence like a block of wood or stone, to pronounce anything in the affirmative or negative about either.
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The visible whole is the infinite Brahma, and this universe displays the majesty of the great God; and all these bodies are the various forms, exhibiting the infinite attributes of the deity.
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In this manner, is the substance of the Divine Intellect displayed in itself; and it is the vacuous spirit of God, that manifests this unsubstantial world in its own vacuity.
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The number of living beings, since the beginning of creation, is unlimited in every place; and of these there are many, that exist either in their corporeal or incorporeal forms.
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There are other siddha and spiritual beings, abiding with their subtile natures and tenuous forms in the supreme Being; they live in groups in all elements, but never come to see one another of their own kind.
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The exuberance of the visible world, being purely of aerial and vacuous form; they are never seen in their true and intellectual light, except when they appear to us in their aerial shapes in our dreams.
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The world being well known, remains as it does in our inward conception of it, in the form of a hazy mist appearing to our sight at the end of night (i.e. dark and obscure).
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It is a dark and indistinct maze, with nothing distinguishable in it when seen from a distance; it becomes clearer at a nearer view, and by keeping yourself afar you lose sight of it altogether.
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As the particles of water fly off, and fall again into the sea; so do the atoms of intellect in all living beings, continually rise and subside, in the vast ocean of the Divine Mind. (So doth every thing proceed from and recede into the Divine Spirit).
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This grandeur of creation is as the crowding throng of our dreams, which ere lay slumbering; in the hollow space of the Divine Mind, therefore know these effusions of the divine Intellect, as calm and quiet as the unruffled spirit of God (that ever reposes in its calm felicity).
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I have seen the infinite glories of creation, and have felt the various results of my deeds to no end; I have wandered in all quarters of the globe for ages; but I found no rest from the toils and troubles of the delusive world, except in the knowledge of my vanities of the world.